Leather Care – Cleaning, Conditioning & Protecting
What am I sitting on?
Early leathers used mass produced vehicles were coated with a thick PVC coating. Some manufacturers in Europe applied more, lighter thinner coats to leave a more supple appearance, whereas manufactures in America would use less, thicker coats. This would leave both a more durable finish, be closer in look and texture to PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride which was used on the majority of the interior of the vehicle and was cheap to make. Thank fully, leather used today by manufactures has evolved. The reality is a Chemist could tell you more about what you are sitting on the leather tanner.
Real, Fake or both?
So we know not all materials used in a vehicle’s interior that have the appearance of leather are not leather, but are we sure. In researching the topic of ‘Automotive Leather’ I was thrown many curve balls. Corrected grain, chrome dyed, Full Grain, Split Grain – It sent me in a spin and would take a thesis to explain. So let’s simplify it all and look a few of the main types of leather used today’s vehicles.
Leather is protected with a polymer layer containing pigments. The coating of the surface allows for more control over the attributes of the leather during the manufacturing process; eg, durability – resistance to scuffing or fading. So, yes, there is a layer of real leather, however it is not dyed. The colour and appearance of the grain are in the pigmented or protective layer. The thinner the layer of coating and the softer and more realistic the leather with feel. Clean with a light cleaner, that produces suds to provide lubrication. It may dry matt, however the next step of conditioning will restore the depth of colour. Even though it is coated, micro cracks in the coating develop over time, where the leather underneath will absorb to conditioner and make it softer. Using a conditioner with a slight protectant in it will help to keep this type of leather in top condition.
Semi-Aniline leather is also coated with a protective layer, however this is a clear layer over a real leather that has been dyed through. It’s almost a clear coat for your leather and like a clear over base coat system, the top layer will provide a very even colour even through it is very thin. The thinnest of the layer allows the material to retain the soft and supple feeling of a non-coated (aniline) leather with the durability required in a vehicle’s interior. Care for this leather is almost the same as the Pigmented Leather, except that as the top coating is clear an alkaline based cleaner can be used to remove ingrained dirt, with the surfactants used as lubrication during the cleaning process. The top coating will also allow conditioning to the base layer, which is required more frequently than pigmented leather due to thinnest of this top coating. Let’s Clean!
Stage 1 – Lexol Leather Care
What is in the kit?
Lexol Leather Cleaner 500ml - Lexol Conditioner 236ml - Lexol Applicator Two Pack - Aquatouch General Purpose Cloth Blue & Yellow
In our Stage One Leather Care Kit you will find a cleaner and conditioner combination that is safe and effective on all types of leather. Let’s take a look. The first step is to remove all dirt from the surface. This is very important for leather as dirt and sand acts as an abrasive and grinds the surface.
The Clean (Remove the Dirt & Stains)
Lexol Leather Cleaner is a pH-balanced leather cleaner that is safe on pigmented/coated and Semi-aniline leathers. Dampen the Lexol Cotton Applicator with wet water and squeeze out the excess. (TIP: have a small bucket or container with warm water available during this step) Spray the Applicator with the Leather Cleaner and rub into the leather to loosen and remove dirt and stains from the surface.
As we are using a gentle cleaner, we have included the Concourse Vinyl and Leather brush, with medium grade bristles to remove deeper soiled areas. Work a small area at a time. Once you have completed the entire area ie, seat base, take one of the Aquatouch Microfibre Cloths, lightly dampen the cloth and wipe of any residue from the cleaner on the surface. Allow the surface to dry completely.
The Conditioner (Restore the Moisture & Softness)
The Lexol Leather Condition is also pH-balanced to replace the moisture into the leather removed over time and during the cleaning process. Apply the Leather conditioner to the applicator and with your finger spread evenly over the surface of the applicator. Gently massage the conditioner into the leather surface. Light application work better than a heavy handed approach. Once done, allow 30min for the conditioner to be absorbed into the leather. If the surface still looks matt or dull reapply the application process and allow an additional 30min. After this time, using an Aquatouch Microfibre Cloth, lightly and briskly wipe the leather surface to remove any excess conditioner. Now stand back and enjoy the look, feel and smell of your newly rejuvenated leather!
Stage 2: Specialty
What is in the kit?
Zaino Z9 Leather Cleaner 236ml Zaino Z10 Leather Conditioner 236ml OR Scholl Concepts SKIN Leather Gel 250ml Aquatouch Microfibre General Purpose Cloth Blue Aquatouch Microfibre General Purpose Cloth Green Aquatouch Blue Applicator Vikan Medium Scrub brush
What makes this kit different to Stage 1?
While we have extensively tested all the products and combinations of products in our kits we always have to look at what the people want. In terms of Leather Care, Zaino is the most popular. It is easy to use and apply and smells like leather! In fact some people buy this JUST because z10 smells like real leather. In testing we found this to work well on a variety of different leathers, Asian, American and Australian in particularly. However, Scholl Concepts, being a German based company, have a product which works brilliantly on European Leather. It seems to be able to be absorbed easier and gives off this smell which is just pleasant to work with. Both options are regarded, extremely high quality choices. However, like previously stated we recommend - Scholl Concepts SKIN for European Cars - Zaino Z10 Conditioner for Asian, American and Australian Cars.
Cleaning the leather
Zaino Z9 is delicate on your leather, yet powerful enough to remove contaminants embedded in your leather with the Vikan Scrub brush.
For a maintenance clean - Spray the leather cleaner directly onto your Blue Microfibre cloth. Then rub into the leather to loosen and remove small dirt particles. For a deeper clean - Spray the leather cleaner directly onto the leather surface and use the Vikan Scrub brush to lightly agitate the surface to remove stains, dirt and other stubborn contaminants. Wipe off with your Blue Microfibre Cloth Let the surface to completely dry before conditioning.
Amazing Smells and Conditioning Agents in Z10 and SKIN
When the surface is dry, apply a small amount of z10 or SKIN into your blue microfibre applicator and gently rub across the surface as evenly as possible. Let the conditioner seep into the leather for around 20 minutes, then wipe off excess (if any) residue. Multiple thin layers after letting the surface completely drying is not needed, but can help soften up older and neglected leather. The almond oils and bees wax in SKIN will help provide mild protection to your leather to help repel water and light stains, while giving off a terrific smell. Zaino has added Ultra-Guard to its Z10 formula to help protect from minor potential blemishes as well as protect it from drying out in the sun.
Stage 3: Prestige
**Discount is a Limited Time Only in This Stage 3 Kit** There is a lot to take in for Stage 3, every kit will come with a Swissvax Handbook which has product details and directions in depth, if you have any questions give us a call or email. We will be more than happy to help you find the perfect system to care for your leather and all other detailing aspects of your vehicle.
What is in the base kit? - Swissvax Leather Cleaner 250ml - Swissvax Leather Milk 250ml - Swissvax Elephant Fat 15ml - Swissvax Terry 100% Cotton Towel - Swissvax Cotton Applicator - 2x Microfibre Cloth Pink Swissvax,
Take Care Of Your Dream Swissvax is no ordinary company, its a group of enthusiasts. People trying to find the best possible products no matter what it takes, no matter how costly the ingredients are. When you purchase a Swissvax Product you always have that feeling that you have probably chosen one of the best products in the market. Stage 3 is all about delivering the best possible product combinations and here it's a full Swissvax affair, products are tested our testing is done alongside with the Eastern Australian Distributes of Swissvax. www.swissvax.com.au
So why not Stage 2?
Swissvax have a huge range of interior products, with a huge presence in the leather care sector, with products like Swissvax leather cleaner, leather milk, leather gloss corrector (matt), leather gloss corrector (glossy), leather softener, leather glaze, leather healer and elephant fat. Stage 3 is solely focused on quality and with this kit, quality is what you will get. By Quality we mean, deeper cleaning and softer leather and having the option of doing a full leather restoration. Again, if you need help we are open 9am - 5pm and are happy to answer any queries over the phone or in email.
When you open your Swissvax Leather Care Bag, the first product you will be using is Swissvax leather Cleaner. This highly effective, gentle-acting leather cleaner containing biodegradable active ingredients and enriched with glycerin, its perfect for all types of leather. Coupled with the Swissvax Leather Brush which is the finest and softest leather brush in a range makes leather cleaning simple. Mist the leather cleaner directly onto the surface and scrub in circular motions. Wipe of the leather cleaner with the 100% Cotton Towel by Swissvax wait for the surface of the leather to completely dry.
Swissvax Leather Conditioning
Swissvax Leather milk is an easy to use economical and powerful leather care product containing emulsifiers for all smooth leathers. To restore and preserve the natural moisture balance of the leather , leather milk is enriched with vitamin E, glycerin and UV filters. Apply Swissvax Leather Milk using the Swissvax Cotton Applicator, apply evenly and leave it to sit. For best results let the Leather milk soak in overnight and if needed wipe leftover residue with a microfibre cloth.
Elephant Fat for Repelling water spots and rain
In the base Stage 3 kit you will get a small 15ml tub of Elephant Fat, this helps protect areas from rain drops and potential light staining. Perfect for Leather interior in convertibles, the seat cushions on the driver and passenger door sides, basically all the leather coverings you want protected from rain drops. To apply this, using a microfibre cloth, massage the leather preserver very sparingly onto the leather and leave it sit. For stronger protection use Swissvax Leather Glaze.
Leather Glaze is simply put, a leather seal. this is perfect for people who have new cars or are undergoing a leather restoration using products in the Swissvax Range. Wear and tear on leather can be greatly reduced because the colorless protective film minimises the effects of friction. Also a great idea if you have light leather and want to save it from visible denim markings. Even though these marks will appear, they can be cleaned away with no long lasting damage, with the Swissvax Leather Cleaner. When using this product make sure you clean the leather as explained. Then apply Swissvax Leather Glaze with the sponge applicator, try to make sure this layer is thin and consistent. Let this bond, and on the next day treat this with Swissvax Leather milk. Any markings or stains on your leather will be on this protective film, simply remove them with Swissvax Leather Cleaner.
Tough and hardened leather
If your leather has noticeably hardened, it may be due to loss of moisture or leather shrinking due to the effect of heat. It is important that your leather is conditioned and properly cleaned regularly. Leather Softener can help this, which can be added to your kit. You will need to apply with an applicator, cloth or towel. The Leather Softener will be left to sit on the leather for one to two days allowing the products to slowly moisturize and recondition your leather. When treated regularly, Leather Softener will assist in preventing your leather from hardening again, for it has light protecting agents in the product.